Subcommittee Committee Examined U.S. Preparedness for Biological Attacks and Infectious Disease Pandemics

Jun 27, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (June 27, 2019)—This week, Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, held a hearing to examine “U.S. Biodefense, Preparedness, and Implications of Antimicrobial Resistance for National Security.”

 

TAKEAWAYS

 

  • Chairman Stephen F. Lynch emphasized the importance of supporting doctors, hospitals, and emergency responders, who will ultimately be our nation’s first line of defense in any future biological attack or pandemic. Chairman Lynch and Ranking Member Hice also highlighted the need for better preparedness at the local level, and increased coordination and lines of communication between federal, state, and local officials.

 

  • Dr. Helen Boucher, Mr. Chris Currie, Dr. Asha George, and Dr. Cham Dallas all agreed that the United States faces significant biological threats, ranging from the deliberate release of biological agents, to the natural outbreak of infectious diseases. All four witnesses also agreed that antibiotic resistance is a growing threat to U.S. national security. 

 

  • Mr. Currie testified to the need for consistent Congressional oversight of the National Biodefense Strategy, which the Trump Administration released in September 2018.

 

  • Dr. Boucher testified about the need to improve the development pipeline for new antibiotics that can be used to treat resistant bacteria. She stressed that incentives to facilitate the research and development of new antibiotics should also include stewardship programs and reporting requirements to ensure they are used and prescribed appropriately.

WITNESSES

 

Dr. Helen Boucher

Director

Tufts Center for Integrated Management of Antimicrobial Resistance

Tufts Medical Center

 

Dr. Asha George

Executive Director

Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense

 

Chris Currie

Director

Emergency Management, Disaster Recovery, and DHS Management Issues

Homeland Security and Justice Team

U.S. Government Accountability Office

 

Dr. Cham Dallas

University Professor and Director

Institute for Disaster Management, on behalf of University of Michigan

 

VIDEOS

Watch Chairman Lynch’s opening statement.

Watch Chairman Lynch’s question line.

Watch  Director Chris Currie’s testimony.

Watch Dr. Asha George’s testimony.

116th Congress